The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to rebound off of a somewhat disappointing 7-9 season in 2012. However, the NFC South is likely to be much tougher this year and the Buccaneers are going to need to be better than they were last year when all but the Atlanta Falcons in their division struggled.
Obviously Tampa Bay is going to be expecting more from quarterback Josh Freeman. They will also be looking for running back Doug Martin to duplicate the high level of success and productivity that he displayed in his first NFL season last year. However, it’s another running back, one much less heralded than Martin, who could be a potential threat for the Bucs.
Tampa Bay acquired running back Jeff Demps from the New England Patriots via a trade this off-season. Demps recorded no stats for New England in his rookie season, but that doesn’t take away the incredible physical tools that Demps possesses.
Demps recorded an unofficial 4.26-second 40-yard dash before coming into the draft and going undrafted. He also used to be a track star in high school and even in college at Florida. While playing at football for the Gators, Demps was known for his big-play ability. If he gets out in the open field with his speed, it’s almost undoubtedly going to be a touchdown.
The reason he could be a big factor the Bucs next season is he a potential threat in the passing game out of the backfield. Much like Darren Sproles, Demps could catch passes in the flat out of the backfield and, if he has space, can make those into big plays.
There’s definitely a chance that Demps rarely sees the field at all. However, it’s hard to let speed like his go unutilized. At the very least, expect to see Tampa Bay trying out Demps in passing plays in the preseason to see how they fare.